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Leaving home
October 11th, 2013

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

Leaving home

Home is the place of habits, of comfort… the place we most easily 'shape' to our liking and jealously guard from others —the place where we play out the delusion that we could be happy by controlling  the conditions at hand, by solidifying  what we like and dislike, by accumulating  what we like and by avoiding  what we dislike.

Home is the place we should proudly share with all,
but that, in fact, we close to most (all except the very select few).

There is strong insistence on "leaving home"  in Buddhism, but it is so often misinterpreted, it is painful to watch.

This is not about you becoming monastics! The Saṅgha is fourfold: nuns, monks, laywomen, laymen. This is not "nuns, monk, and some despised 'rest'." Lay life is not incompatible with "leaving home". Monastic life is not necessarily "leaving home".

When you challenge your habits, your views, your certainties, you leave home. When you decide to trust the intention of a teacher and listen (without necessarily agreeing, but at least making an effort not to automatically brush off what you dislike hearing), you leave home. When you embrace impermanence and selflessness, you leave home.

When you stick to a sense of knowing better than other people (e.g. because  you are a monastic or a spiritual wanderer), you stay home. When you think you figured out the Path that is for you, you stay home. When you enter a routine of habits (e.g. because they're listed as wholesome), you stay home… you stay in the cocoon of 'certainties', of barriers and protective walls.

The practice is in what you do, not where you live. A social status or another makes no difference to this. Naturally, the social status will affect your conditions and circumstances, but what matters is how freely and creatively you respond,  how you lead an ethical life, how you pay attention to here&now and how you refrain from blinding yourself with prejudices and preferences, how you're mindful of thoughts and acts, how you refrain from automatism, thought habits, certainties… The practice is in what you do, not where you live.
Where you live may provide favourable conditions for the practice, but the 'conditions' are not what it's about, your response is!

#Buddhism   #Dharma  
Photo: part of the "Autumn Breeze" shooting, © Rainer Ressmann,